In 2001, a little gem called Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney came out for Game Boy Advance. It was met with positive critical response, and the people who have played it loved it. In 2005, it has been ported for Nintendo DS and it included a new, fifth case which is large enough reason for fans to buy it. Is this game that good?
In this game, you control the title character, Phoenix Wright who is a defense lawyer. The first case features only court proceedings and it is actually a tutorial case, as you learn how to handle yourself in court. As your clients are the defendants, you must do everything in your power to prove them innocent. On the other side of the court, there is a prosecutor, so presenting the evidence and pressing witnesses turns into a defense lawyer versus prosecutor duels, with Phoenix shouting "Objection!" when you present an evidence that contradicts the witnesses statements or "Hold it!" when you are pressing the witness for more information. To find a contradiction, you must look in your court record carefully to find contradicting evidence that shows that the witness lies or is mistaken, after which the witness alter his testimony and so forth. If you present the wrong evidence, the judge will penalize you. If you make five mistakes, it is over and your client will automatically be found guilty. But the court proceedings aren't the only thing you do in the game.
When you're not in the court, you are like a Sherlock/Poirot(whatever detective you like). You are in the investigation mode, examining crime scenes, talking to people, presenting stuff to people so you can learn more and moving from place to place. You are in investigation mode, then you are in court mode, and so forth. The cases can be surprisingly long, although it does depend on how well you do in finding evidence and presenting it to the court. Still, even in my second playthrough, it took me a lot to clear some parts of the cases, so the game definitely challenges you.
Phoenix Wright is a game I have stumbled upon accidentally, and it impressed me with it's story, characters and presentation. It also has a nice soundtrack to it, some of the music themes are awesome! The cases have the feel of continuation, and each of them has some character development and some great plot twists. Seriously, the plots of the cases are probably the best thing about this game. The game is very dialogue driven, so if you don't have a good understanding of English, you are doomed. I also have to say that the court "battles" can be very intense and there are some awesome characters in the mix. There is also a good dose of humor in this game, so that is a plus as well. The game does require some suspension of disbelief, so if you are looking to full realism of the court, you will find yourself disappointed. However, from what I've read, the game does represent some of the Japanese laws nicely, even if it is exaggerating. The graphics are somewhatcartoonish, which I think represent this kind of game the best.
Does this game have flaws? Sure it does. Sometimes the investigation could get a bit tedious and evidence you should present in order to proceed does not always make sense. Also, I don't like much the fact that if you fail, you defendant is automatically declared guilty, even if you have proven that he/she couldn't be guilty. But those are only minor gripes and I think this is a great game.
Overall. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a fun, yet not unintelligent, game that I would recommend for any fan of detective, police or crime shows/movies/games. It has some great elements to it, it can make you laugh and it can keep you on the edge of your seat. It has hours of gameplay, especially on this, Nintendo DS version which added a very long fifth case. It is a great game.
If you liked this article, and you want to read more of my writings, click follow on my profile. If you have something you would elaborate on, or you feel something has not been mentioned, comment below. Thanks for reading!